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THERE ARE REAL ALTERNATIVES

We can create the kind of society—and world—we’d
like now and for future generations

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TIME TO FACE THE DEPTH OF THE SYSTEMIC CRISIS

There are political-economic system models that deliver
superior social, economic and ecological outcomes

The challenging realities of growing inequality, political stalemate, and climate disruption prompt an important insight. When the old ways no longer produce the outcomes we are looking for, something deeper is occurring.

We are at or near the bottom among advanced democracies across a score of key indicators of national well-being—including relative poverty, inequality, education, social mobility, health, environment, militarization, democracy, and more.

We have fundamental problems because of fundamental flaws in our economic and political system. The crisis now unfolding in so many ways across our country amounts to a systemic crisis.

Today’s political economic system is not programmed to secure the wellbeing of people, place and planet. Instead, its priorities are corporate profits, the growth of GDP, and the projection of national power.

Large-scale system change is needed but has until recently been constrained by a continuing lack of imagination concerning social, economic and political alternatives. There are alternatives that can lead to the systemic change we need.

What's next?

Sign the Statement

Time to Face the Depth of the Systemic Crisis We Confront

It’s time for everyone who cares about our troubled country to face the depth of the systemic crisis we now confront as a nation. We must step back from the daily fray and ask: How do we actually get on a path to the kind of society—and world—we’d like now and for future generations? We must begin a real conversation—locally, nationally, and at all levels in between—on how to respond to the profound challenge of our time in history.

“If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending,” Lincoln said, “we could better judge what to do.” Today’s answer to Lincoln’s charge is grim. If one looks at “where we are” among advanced democracies across more than a score of key indicators of national well-being—including relative poverty, inequality, education, social mobility, health, environment, militarization, democracy, and more—we find ourselves exactly where we don’t want to be: at or near the bottom.

We Face a Systemic Crisis

The challenging realities of growing inequality, political stalemate, and climate disruption prompt an important insight. When big problems emerge across the entire spectrum of national life, it cannot be due to small reasons. When the old ways no longer produce the outcomes we are looking for, something deeper is occurring. We have fundamental problems because of fundamental flaws in our economic and political system. The crisis now unfolding in so many ways across our country amounts to a systemic crisis.

Today’s political economic system is not programmed to secure the wellbeing of people, place and planet. Instead, its priorities are corporate profits, the growth of GDP, and the projection of national power. If we are to address the manifold challenges we face in a serious way, we need to think through and then build a new political economy that takes us beyond the current system that is failing all around us. However difficult the task, however long it may take, systemic problems require systemic solutions.

We Need Systemic Solutions

The social pain arising from the economic crisis, the steady unfolding of the climate calamity, and many other deeply troubling developments have made it possible to pose the question of large-scale system change in a serious fashion in the United States. Yet, despite this new space for a debate about fundamental change, challenges to the system have until recently been constrained by a continuing lack of imagination concerning social, economic and political alternatives. It is said that the existing system is the only possibility, one we must accept and work with—that, as Margaret Thatcher famously insisted, “There is no alternative.” But she had it wrong.

There are Real Alternatives

The good news is that the inability of traditional politics and policies to address fundamental challenges has fueled an extraordinary amount of experimentation in communities across the United States—and around the world. It has also generated an increasing number of sophisticated and thoughtful proposals for transformative change. Together these developments suggest that it is possible to build a new and better America beyond the failed systems of the past and present.

Indeed, new terms have begun to gain currency among diverse social movements and activist communities—an indication that the domination of traditional thinking has already started to weaken. Thus we encounter the sharing economy, the caring economy, the solidarity economy, the restorative economy, the regenerative economy, the sustaining economy, the resilient economy, and, of course, the new economy. There is talk of the need for a great transition. Several of these approaches already have significant networks and thoughtful research efforts underway. New thinking by creative scholars and members of the labor movement and community-oriented advocates is also contributing to the ferment.

Time for a National Debate

It is time for Americans to think boldly about what is required to deal with the systemic difficulties facing the United States. It is time to explore genuine alternatives and new models—“the next system.” It is time to debate what it will take to move our country to a very different place, one where outcomes that are truly sustainable, equitable, and democratic are commonplace.

Those of us signing this statement are committed to working towards these ends.

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SIGNATORIES

Nikki Dohn
Simcha De HaanBroedplaats Fenix
Carol Jacobs-Carreself
Linda Bruggernone
Doc HallCompression Institute
Flavio Jimenez
Joseph Camosy
Pat Kates
John Turanyi
Robert Dudash
Annie Campbell WashingtonCity of Oakland
Justin Koehn
Leah Maka Grey
Wayne Ohlsson
Samuel ElliottWorld Community
Susan LockhartMe
Bob Norwood
Quinn VicariBeyond Scarcity
Laurie Mundo
james whippsgood sense pac
Jessica Wilson
Merri Whipps
Ted Stolze
Garry Potter
Paul Fairchild
Lauren Churchill
Cathy White
Stephen Hardy
John HarveySEIU Local 668
Ashia Bridges
Greta Alexander
John CoonCoonlaw
Kerry JohnsonCognitive Dissidents
Mitch Trachtenberg
Claudia Erland
kevin jonesGood Capital
Ryan Anderson
Nelson Suarez
Eric Godin
Wagdy Samirprivate
Juan Trujillo
Randall WilliamsRetired
Peter GringingerEarth
john norton
Lee Barker
Nathan WareCogswell College
RAY SIMMONS
Roxanne DecktorMrs.
Valerie SmithTransition ABQ
reza jenab
Doug BreitbartCox Education Opportunities
Cristian Dominguez
Kenneth Chrisman
Joan Havemann
Phil MetzlerTransition Goshen
Rj LaneFocus International
Tammi Franke
Brandie Williams
Bryan Milne
Lawrence KasparowitzThe Art of Digital Images
James BatyEarth
Amy RubinImaginarium: idea lab for people
Andrea Nagel
Andrea NagelInteraction Institute for Social Change
Bobbi Mcgeachin Healing?
Alice Meehan
Jesus Vasquez
Edward Smith
loni grayZOdwellings
Ronald Parry
Alain Angelac
John Williamshome
Fred Bartels
Iwanka Kultschyckyj
Thomas LarsenKansas State University
Dick HaasOwn Account
daniel mitchellchaos
George Gordy
Darrell Adamslittle, to none....
Paula WoodEarth Economics
Bernard GlucksternThe Center For Humanistic Global Initiatives
Crystal Kappcitizen
Scott LawranceDr.
Martin Tull
Todd Boyle
Waqas Mirza
Margaret Patel
Jacob Harris
Dylan Clear
. Pedro C González-Floresindependiente
Peter Critchley
Adin RogovinThe Co-Intelligence Institute
Paula Marie Lorraine CadieuxFreelance teacher
jesse largent
Moreno Nuriamenorca en transición
Peter SawtellEco-Justice Ministries
Jon Stephenson
Violet SewellHerbal Farmer
Amit P
Lori Hughes
James Townsend
Larissa JohnsonNew Economy Fellowship
Theron HortonsimpleCHANGE
Peter Scanlan
David CameronWoodtales
Bruce SindahlFourmile Canyon Group, LLC
Jane Duru
Paul DonleyIndividual
Patricia Heywood
Todd Heywood
Jaymes HinesStartup Edtech & Generation Mobile
John Beck
Mariah ONeill
Pamela Hughes
Tigger MontagueBiostarUS
Jeffrey Kaplan
Gareth JohnstonFuture Ready P/L
Jason Miller
Robin SeydelLa Montanita Coop
Joshua Davis
Lindsey Collins
Julie MatthaeiWellesley College
Sean Horner
Al BradenCitizen
Lori Nincehelser
Shirley WayAlternatives to Violence Project
Jacqueline BottingWiseTribe
Kemble WalkerEarth
Graeme TaylorBEST Futures
Jordan BoberBC Green Party
marc diMinno
Yvonne McQuilkinTransition Town Newburyport
Mike Rebohprimitivetimes.com
Penny KellyLily Hill Farm & Lerning Center
owen sammons
Emma YipCenter for Environmental Health
Rebecca Brooks
Mora Rogers
Christine CapraGreater than the Sum
Alma Sanchez-EpplerInstitute for Community Justice
Paul RodenBucksCounty, PA 350
Thannarong ViboonsuntiBuddhist Univ.
Jennifer HammondSustainable Fairfax
Rob KallOpEdNews.com
luisa mezian
George Grubb
Matt Dietrichson
Peter Seidelindependent
Elizabeth Olbert
Janet McGarr
Jonathan Rokke
Noah Neumark
Al Davis
Godfrey Moase
Beth Erickson
brian barber
Ralf EngelsResearch Institute for Water and Waste Management, Aachen, Germany
Diane Bernardi
David Hucknall
Craig CarrSoulForce, Inc
Martin Greenwood
Kobi Lurie
David Bell
Susan JenningsArthur Morgan Institute for Community Solutions
carol routhSecond Wind Consulting, LLC
D Peters
Kriss AveryRainbow Sound
John GreinJAGCS
Ofer SharoneMIT
Bill Hoffman
Mark Brumbill
Devon King
Manuel Merki
D BurnsHeadsails School
Robert SterlerWouldArt
Char GhivaanCGConsult
John Kintreeratificationthroughreferendum. org
Ana GarciaAshleywww.gamaliel.org
Melanie ChengFarmsReach
Barry MarkleWriter/Analyst
Saul NievesMr.
Kristi Doyne-BaileyIndependent
Greer Wilk
Jesse ChenPowerline
Ellen Allen
Nick TobolskiExistence Day
James WilsonIOPS
Brent HepnerNA
Lisa Hongspace-between.us
Prasanth Joseph
David McCarthyCenter for Civil Economics
Keith HuppTimeKeeperBank
Chiara LonghinIKEA
jay alan gustafsoncalifornia Alpine Club
Tomas SanguinettiOrganic Institutions
John SniegockiXavier University
Michael Denham
Martin BlankInstitute for Educational Leadership
James HallidayEducation Synergy Alliance
Rebecca Heyer
Tom CromptonCommon Cause Foundation
Adam jorlenenkel.co
Abraham D. AlexandeAnonymous
Jesús Martín
Fokko PrinsThe Pause Movement
Daniel GortzMetamoderna
Dirk FrankenhauserPanForestal.de
Clare Bartram
Cylvia Hayes3EStrategies
John Kesich
Patricia Grafn/a
Joseph MetcalfArise Art Group
Michael Brezin
William Newman
Jerry Buchko
Carol HarkinsNone
Ed DrebySociety of Friends in Philadelphia
Claudia Amatoprivate
Stephanie Tholand
Adler YangAwakening Lab
April ReidReid Write Consulting
Sylvie Banuls
Anders NilssonTeater K
Deborah Baker
Joshua MalkinThe Elysia Commons
Verlaine CrawfordAuthor, \"Ending the Battle Within\" an \"A Planetary Vision\"
Kate Lancaste
Fabio Baldassari
David YoungThe Great Ferment | Eco-Logos LLC
Tobias Schwinger
Pedro LimaGMAP | UNISINOS
Marie Beichertgranthelper.com
Kimberley SternTRE Alive
Monet Blairmental health therapist
Jörg Pieczewsky Umweltarbeitskreis.de
Tom JonesRedSail Consulting
Ralf SchnabelTalents by Heart e.K.
Patrick Dörr
Mary HoyerUnionCo-ops Council of US Federation of Worker Co-ops
Kurt Eggermyself
Pierre JosephRoosevelt Institute
Hans-Florian Hoyer
Will DerksNetherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD)
Eva-Maria Mehrgardtbilwiz
Ingerid S. StraumeUniversity of Oslo
Hans-Dieter Schulz
Matthew TeetersEconomics of Compassion Initiative
Ilse Köhler-RollefsonLPP
John Donoso
Anne Overlack
Margaret Van Blaricom
Y Schaetzle
Trisha EndazDevinity Business Solutions
Florian Plackner
Karl Heinz Leschhttps://www.ecogood.org/en
Gina Bugni
Scott MorrisIthacash
Jerome Jerome RigotIndividual
Erich Krieger
Vanessa Carlson
Ursula Frischkorn
Oliver Hug
Heather FerrisNurture Nature Project
Donna ClarkRed Hawk Lodge
John Lee
Thomas Treat
Bruce SchumanNetworkNation.net
Sarah Barrettnone
Felix Großklaß
Kai Otto
Ana Berger
Millie KerLight Living Laboratory
Peter B RaeThe LightLiving Foundation
Andrew Edgerton
Cassandra Merriweather
Charles Blanchard
Giampaolo CarbonieroVivere Lusiana-Veneto-Italy
Nichole Powers
Hakusho OstlundSan Francisco Zen Center
Daniel MurrayStanford University
Joshua Herbert
Mark Bearce
Hugo Duran
Thomas Wahlrab
Sarah Sorg
Wakeen Edmonds
Dan BailiffThe CIRCLE Project
Sally OesterlingGrandparents
William BaxterHometown Dental
tim readSelf Employed
Jesse Chacon
Terry Amick
Hannah Smith
Erin LaRocque
Paul GeorgePeninsula Peace and Justice Center
Nadia AharonianASHTARA
Ashik SiddiqueThe Climate Mobilization
Jay Seb
David Vance
Jude MidgleyBIASAN
Uwe FleischhauerGreen Party Germany
antonios tsesmetzis
elizabeth mezamother
Ksenia Benifand
Simon KoreshoffUniversity of Western Sydney
cyle Richardson none
Juanita Wright-Potter
Jill Palmer
nicolas vega-frey
Ruzo LogicDistrict Artz
Claire Hackman
eduardo cortina
Sadie GillCSU East Bay
Andrew Marrs
Jim Williams
ken kabureck
John Strohlindependent sustainability activist
Marian Moore
Libby BlomArchdiocese of Brisbane
Ann Ellis
Kathleen Thompson
Clover Mathis
Mary Ellen Deveau
Stephen Suau
Helena Wright
Matt Piccone
Michael MaxsonCynical Solutions, LLC
Herbert Long
Nicolene Junkins
Thurston C Hicks
MaryTeresa Walsh
erana kratounis
Beth Brunton
Hendrica RegezWoodland Ways
Janet Findlay
Lotta RaoRao Communications
jeana wiserbuilding resilience workshop
Maria MacNutt
Stephen Coffman
Anselm hookmakerlab
Jayne Blume
Gary HuxelHuxel Consulting
Rebecca Klima Penn
Rachael IrwinMrs.
Dawn Abernathy
Mary Stromquistn/a
Teresa Perna
Lyn D\'Amore
Mark E. Smith
Alex Floor
Dorinda Skains
Ashley Klein
Jon Skelley
T Rickprivateer
Bonnie Sammons
Valériane AsbySpringfield Community Initiative
John Lambie
Raymond Kaiser
Margaret Hartwellarchetypesinbranding.com
Carol GonzalezCLC Advocacy & Action, Ballfield Farm (Urban Collective)
Marie-Laure Grimaldi
Jon Croteau
Tom Reddock
Vaughn Sessions
Rana Koll-Mandel
ryan mcleod
Tanya CoonTanya Coon
Asher Platts2014 Green Party candidate for Maine Legislature
Lewis LuoANI Networking
Gavin Cosgrave
Joseph Tieger
Caroline Duchscher
Suzanne Summa1997
heidi jensenKiwiana
Brian Nowak7 Eleven
Nancy Weaver
Ciaron Moireach
JON SCHLOBOHMprivate citizen
Michael RoehmBuddhist Global Relief
Cathy Baganz
antonio testaTCT cursos
Angara Beaubrun
Lynette Conat Integral EFT
Marian Clinton
Paul Smith
Julie Griffin
Brent Irving
michael holmesciis.edu
Carol LewisEJL of the UCC
Anya VanecekU.S.PIRG
Andre JankowitzBusiness Insights Group
Betina TackettMs.
Elisa Winter
Sekoni Olatunji
Iain ParkerPublic Credit or Bust
Jonas BrücklZeitgeist Movement
Margot Terc1990
Michael McPhersonOrganization
Timothy SullivanArtist
Kim DeCelles
Candys Wiginton
Ken DickersonEcological Farming Association
Deren Stevens
Russell AllenBusyTech Images
David GallardoPROFOTO
DeAnne Dingwall
Philip Tuutawinners.goyobsn.com
geoff drumm
Michael AlbaMr.
Mike Deycaza
Izzy GainsburgUniversity of MIchigan
Ziggy MojoCanadian Citizens Coalition for Monetary Reform
Victor MyersThis is something I can agree with.
Mitchell Landy
Ira Monosson
richard Snyder
Danielle Greene
Tory Edwards
Karen Asher
Tom Mendelson
Timothy HavelPublic Banking Institute MA Chapter Member
Crysta Schwager
Michael Fish
Carmen Buford-PaigeOccupy Seacost NH
Tammy Fish Holistic Solutions
Caitlin Reid
Holly Harrington
Gina Angiola
Pamela Jannetta
Cecilia Rinaldi
Teresa VanWagonerJade Lion LLC
Melody Martel
Abel Quitoriano
Douglas Bugbee
LeAnn PhelpsNONE
David Edwards
Marvin Lowe
Andy Clark
Tom Rainsford
Judith Wood
Christine stenglein
Carter Graham
Richard Fernandez
Jay GerigStudent
Maja Cadikovska
Berta Tangye1950
Susan Warren
Ellen RathboneYPI
Katherine RuppKatherine Rupp, CID, USGBC BD+C
Mark Linsey
Patricia Tashiro
Kim Hileman
Karen Paul
Diego Matho
anoushka csillag
Kevin BrownNicol Design
Kelly Vilches
Michael R. MengHuman Activity Network
David Sheldrake
Gary meekscitizen
Kathleen ReedMrs.
Hilary Key
Lousetta Keyes
Kyle Massie
Valerie & Don Orth
Xavier Edwards
Wendy Linton
Christopher Nelson
georgeann johnsonwww.mayaconservancy.org
Madeleine LightfootMs.
Robin Doerr
Phyllis Killam-AbellCreate a Peaceful World by Sustaining Our Future
David GieskeSHIFT ETHOS
Jinelle Piereder
Dorothy Walsh
Vietta Helmle
Cynthia BoiterJasper Magazine
sonia gomes
Joel Katz
Edward Goldstein
Renee Tommila
Matthew Lutz
Jasmin Maghsoudlou
Sara HubnerNONE
Bruce Allen
Roger Pryor
Katherine CassidyMiss
John FitzsimmonsHuman Race
David Basaraba
Heidi McElroy
Cynthia HubachElysian Valley Community Garden
Rachael Ehrlund
Valeria hill
Robert KELLY Bostian
Adrianne Locke
Mary RikerMs.
John Veli
Paul LennonMr.
Sarah middaugh-mote
Tina Neigum
Michael Morningstarself

ABOUT THE NEXT SYSTEM PROJECT

The Next System Project is an ambitious multi-year initiative aimed at thinking boldly about what is required to deal with the systemic challenges the United States faces now and in coming decades. Responding to real hunger for a new way forward, and building on innovative thinking and practical experience with new economic institutions and approaches being developed in communities across the country and around the world, the goal is to put the central idea of system change, and that there can be a “next system,” on the map.

NEXT SYSTEM PROJECT CO-CHAIRS

Gar Alperovitz

Co-Chair of the Next System Project, former Lionel R. Bauman Professor of Political Economy at the University of Maryland, and Co-Founder of the Democracy Collaborative. He also serves as a founding board member of the New Economy Coalition.

Gus Speth

Co-Chair of the Next System Project, board member of the New Economy Coalition, Distinguished Senior Fellow at Demos, and Associate Fellow at the Tellus Institute. He served as Dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies from 1999 to 2009.

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